11/25/08

When and how to use Mahalo

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In my scholarly exploits, I often find that I need to search the web. Google used to be my search engine of choice.  However, my new go to guy is Mahalo.com.  First of all, Mahalo is not your one stop shop.  The way its organized, makes it very useful for research of general topics.  Things like science, arts, people, and history.  If I am working on a paper about salmon, Mahalo is great.  Mahalo is also the best choice if you know the exact name of a person, place, or thing.  If I am looking for information about breaking news, it is the only place I go.




Why Use Mahalo

Your right, you can get great search results on Google if you know specific names or general information, but Mahalo is better.  Mahalo has paid professional guides they essentially do the googling work for you.  When you do a Mahalo search, you will find most of the information you want on one web page. Generally, Mahalo pages provides all the general information you would want about the subject.  If you then need further information, the Mahalo guides provide the Top 7.  The top 7 is a list of the top 7 links on the subject you searched for, these are hand picked by real people.  I have never clicked on a top 7 and been disappointed.   There are also a slew of other features contained in each Mahalo page like links to; videos, pictures, and related pages.  The best reason and the main reason I use Mahalo is to read breaking news stories.  I have found countless times that a google search for breaking news gives terrible results.  When I go to Mahalo for breaking news, I usually find what I want in the half the time it takes with Google.

When to not use mahalo

It's no secret that I really like mahalo, however it does have it's own downsides.  Mahalo is driven almost entirely by real human beings.  This provides an amazing amount of accuracy for each search result, but this also limits the amount of things you can successfully search for.  I have often typed in a search for something and found it wasn't there,  in this case Mahalo just gives you Google search results.    If you are searching for something highly specific, or something that only involves a small niche, then search Google.

How to Use Mahalo

Mahalo still has to iron some of it's wrinkles.  Often search terms need to be exact to get you to the right guide page.  I tried searching "crazy sword weilding guy from oregon", but to get to the proper guide page I had to search for "Mario Majorski".  Next, you need  to realize Mahalo is not just a search engine, it's more of  a content aggregation site.  Once you get the guide page you are looking for, you often find more resources than you were looking for, all the good stuff is at the top of the guide page, at the bottom is often entertainment stuff.  If you have free time you could lose yourself for hours looking at pictures, movies, and other goodies from mahalo guide pages.

Now you know when and how to use Mahalo.  Hopefully, I have banished a few demons  and have made your mahalo experience a little sweeter.  There is a lot to love about mahalo, it may not do it all, but it does it's job well.  So let's all give Mahalo some love.

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3 Response to When and how to use Mahalo

Jared M Spool
November 25, 2008 at 12:30 PM

I think this is an awesome explanation as to the advantages that human curated and edited content will have over machine curation. Nice job explaining the pros and cons. -- Jared

November 25, 2008 at 12:46 PM

Thanks for your thoughtful comments about Mahalo! We strive to be the best resource on the web for helpful, trustworthy content and for breaking news.

You make some strong points about areas where we could do better, and believe me, it is our goal to make each and every Mahalo experience a successful one.

We are currently working on new features which will hopefully direct users to accurate information and make our search results easier to find. We realize that not getting correct results from a search service is frustrating, and this is one of our top priorities as we seek to expand and refine our utilities.

Thanks again for your comments about Mahalo!
Jonathan

November 25, 2008 at 1:00 PM

Cool post.

Something I do to make my Mahalo searches more effective is to use Google to search just Mahalo's site. It's called a domain search. Here's what I mean.

Let's say you are looking for info on how to fry a turkey. You could go to the Mahalo main page and use the search engine there., OR, you could go to google, and type in the following text:

"fried turkey site:mahalo.com"

Using the "site:mahalo.com" bit restricts the google search to just mahalo, and works pretty darn well if you are looking for specific information. You can also do this in "advanced search" in Google as well, in the "search within a site or domain" area.

Of course, if you want the current events, news, sports, or "wierd" stuff, just going to the homepage and navigating from there is the best way.

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